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Rust Prevention Tips

Are you using a rust prevention solution like Cosmoline, but still having problems with rust?

In this article we cover the most common causes of rust and how to stop rust from forming in the future.

No Rust

Dirty Parts

While there are many things that can cause parts to rust, the most common and preventable issue is dirt. Metal fines, dust, shop dirt, oils, processing chemicals and cleaner residue can all affect how your rust preventative works. Dirt particles typically begin as very small areas of rust located sporadically on the metal surface. As the rust penetrates the metal surface, the surface will become pitted and discolored.

How to Stop Rust:

Wet Parts

If metal parts are wet from fluid, humidity or water contamination, this can cause parts to rust.

Rust may also form if competitive inhibitors are used, creating streaky corrosion that shows up as an irregular, wavy pattern caused by the incompatibility of the two fluids mixing on the same surface. Below we've included some advice on how to stop rust caused by wet parts.

Rust Preventive Abuse

Over time your rust preventative will become less effective. This can be caused by a number of factors including:


Pre-Existing Rust

Pre-existing rust can create problems if it is not removed before adding a rust inhibitor. After parts are coated and stored, or shipped, rust blooms.

Sources of pre-existing rust can include:

Rust Prevention Solutions:

Improper Packaging

If parts are packaged before the inhibitor or water has evaporated or excessive handling occurs after the inhibitor is added, it can make the inhibitor less effective, resulting in rust formation.

Here are tips to keep this from occurring:

Improper Application

If a rust inhibitor is not applied properly, rust protection may not be adequate, resulting in rust formation. This can happen if the coating is not given sufficient time to dry or if the coating was not applied to the entire surface evenly.


Improper Product

Current product requirements may be drastically different from time of initial product recommendation. Technological advances in the product chemistry may have outdated your current product.


Periodically review:

Dissimilar Metals

Two or more metals in contract on the same part may initiate a galvanic (electrochemical) cell if conditions allow. This may occur in parts washer cleaning dissimilar metals, or where vibratory media uses an aluminum substrate.